Life Cycle of a Butterfly

In this lesson, we will:

  1. observe real caterpillars as they change into butterflies
  2. sequence and label the four stages of a butterfly
  3. create a painting of a symmetrical butterfly


Activity 1:  Observe the Life Cycle of a Caterpillar to a Butterfly

I order my caterpillars from  (This is not a promotion for their website.  I am simply sharing .)

This is a yearly favorite for students and adults.  I will post pictures of their changes avery few days so we can watch them grow.

Caterpillar Watch:     Day 1      Day 3      Day 5      Day 6      Day 7      Day 8     Day 9       Day 11    Day 12      Day 14       Day 15 (3 butterflies)


A Butterfly Discovers its Proboscis Video



First Butterfly Release Video



Activity 2:  Read Aloud - From Caterpillar to Butterfly by: Camilla de la Bedoyere


Activity 3:  Insect Body Parts Song     


Activity 4:  Butterfly Painting

materials:  paper, paint, scissors, Butterfly Template and Results 

Type B Mom's Lesson Learned- I used to make these all the time with my Granny.  We would squeeze or splatter paint then fold and squish the paper to create butterfly wings.  I created a template and step-by-step instructions for this activity.  I forgot how type A and particular my children are.   I simply told them to have fun and put some paint onto one half of the butterfly.  They both begin to meticulously paint a monarch butterfly.  By the time they finished, the paint was mostly dry and did not transfer to the opposite side.  After my daughter's mini meltdown, I convinced her that it was ok to simply paint the entire butterfly and ignore the written instructions.  I then proceeded to squirt paint all over and half of a piece of paper and make a fun, messy butterfly.  Both results are beautiful.  :)


Activity 5:  Sequence the Life Cycle of a Butterfly


Activity 6:  Draw and Label the Parts of an Insect


Videos to Watch:

  • SciShow Kids: How a Caterpillar Becomes a Butterfly


  • Cosmic Kids Yoga - The Very Hungry Caterpillar



MS Science Standards:

L.1.3B.1 Identify the body parts of a pollinating insect (e.g., bee, butterfly) and describe how insects use these parts to gather nectar or disburse pollen. Report findings using drawings, writing, or models.

L.1.2.2 Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information through labeled drawings, the life cycle (egg, larva, pupa, adult) of pollinating insects (e.g., bees, butterflies).